Pike River survivor's descent into drugs

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 14:00 04/12/2013

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A Pike River mine worker fell into a spiral of drug use after friends and colleagues died in the explosion, a court heard.

Joshua Murray Jackson, 26, has been jailed for four years, six months on drugs charges.

At his sentencing in the Christchurch District Court today, Judge Phillip Moran said the 29 men killed were friends of Jackson's.

"You could not get your head around the fact that you weren't at the coal face that day, and why should you survive when they all died. You took refuge in drug use and that is what leads you here today."

Jackson admitted charges of dealing in class A and B drugs, selling class C, possession of drug utensils and equipment, and possession of firearms and explosives. Dealing in class A drugs carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Police monitoring of his text messages found him offering to supply LSD, ecstasy (MDMA) and cannabis between September 2012 and January 2013.

A police raid of his home on January 24 found a pipe and a pill press, a cut-down .22 rifle and explosives.

Judge Moran increased the sentence for the firearm and explosives and Jackson's prior similar offending.

The court heard Jackson was addicted to "the whole cocktail" and was selling drugs to get money to keep buying them for his own use.

"You are not a drug dealer. You are better than his," said Judge Moran. "You have to pay the price that comes with drug dealing."

Jackson's family was supporting him and had been a model prisoner on remand, completing a business literacy course.

Judge Moran said Jackson had made efforts to beat his drug addiction while in custody.

"Love you, Josh," said one of the family members as he was led to the cells to begin his sentence.

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- The Press

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